Idaho Department of Labor
The Idaho Department of Labor stated that COVID-19 impacted employees filed 13,341 new claims for benefits during the week of March 15-21, 2020. This number is up 12,310 for a 1,200 percent increase over the previous week. The state advised that their priority is to get benefits to those impacted, and eligible, as quickly as possible, as well as to help hiring employers find the staff they need as quickly as possible too.
Employees can review frequently asked questions about filing for benefits at the following website: https://www.labor.idaho.gov/dnn/Unemployment-Benfits/Questions-Answers. The state recommends that employees pull their last two years of their work history before filing online to help speed up the process.
Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity
The fastest way for employees to file for benefits is online at https://www.Michigan.gov/UIA. The state urges employees to file during off-peak hours to avoid longer load times from 8pm to 8am local time. Employees are asked to be patient and not click more than once to reload a page.
Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development
While many businesses have been ordered to temporarily close to slow the spread of COVID-19, some Minnesota businesses are not only staying open – they are also hiring large numbers of workers and even offering hiring incentives. Not only can employees earn a paycheck in these industries, but these jobs can help serve Minnesotans and save lives. Overall, more than 3,650 new job openings were posted last week on the state’s online job bank. Similar to an ordinary week, jobs in the health care industry accounted for 23% of all new jobs posted, with hospitals and nursing homes having the largest demand for workers.
In addition to health care operations, many other businesses providing essential goods and services are hiring. Among these businesses are grocery stores, pharmacies, transportation and delivery services, banks, childcare, and food production. A growing number of employers – including U.S. Bank, Hormel, Target, and Amazon – have recently announced temporary bonuses or pay increases for some employees. Grocery stores are hiring for a variety of front-line positions including online personal shoppers, stockers, and cashiers. Some of the larger grocery retailers posting for positions in Minnesota are CUB Foods, Lunds & Byerlys, and Target. Many smaller local grocery stores are hiring as well. Moreover, government entities are hiring. For example, the Minnesota Department of Corrections is seeking Trainee-Corrections Officers at facilities across the state with immediate openings. The starting wage is $20.55 per hour. No corrections experience is necessary, and a 6-week paid training program is provided. Nationally, CVS Health announced plans this week to hire 50,000 workers across the country in a range of full-time, part-time and temporary positions. Meanwhile, Walmart announced plans last week to hire people for 150,000 jobs throughout the U.S.
If employees have recently been laid off, their skills may transfer more easily to another field than you might think. For instance, many health care employers are looking for people with skills common to employees in the leisure and hospitality industry – such as customer service experience, attention to detail, and the ability to multi-task – to fill a variety of health care positions. While many health care jobs require a state license, certificate, or passing a state exam – a lot of positions may require only on-site training. Among them are home care aides, resident aides, and direct support specialists – as well as positions in medical coding/billing, food service, and housekeeping. Entry-level jobs can be a stepping stone to higher-paid health care positions. Because demand is high, it’s not unusual for employers to help pay for training for many positions that require licensure or certification. There are also numerous grants and scholarships available.
Finally, if employees are looking for work now, or planning to look for work, they can CareerForce at https://www.careerforcemn.com/. Employees may also visit https://www.careerforcemn.com/virtual-interactive-services for links to online classes in resume writing, interviewing skills, and job search – as well as to other online resources. At CareerForceMN.com/locations, employees will find a phone number and an email address for a CareerForce location near them. If employees have trouble connecting, please advise them to call the CareerForce Help Desk at 651-259-7501 or email email@example.com for assistance.
Employees can file for unemployment benefits by visiting the state’s webpage at https://www.uimn.org and applying online. Visit https://www.mn.gov/deed for additional COVID-19 information and resources.
Missouri Department of Labor
While state office buildings may be closed to the public temporarily amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ (DOLIR) and Division of Employment Security (DES) will continue to process unemployment claims. The DES staff are performing essential functions to support Missouri employees and employers in response to this public health crisis. For the week ending March 21, 2020, the DES processed 42,207 initial claims, more than ten times the 3,976 initial claims processed during the week ending March 14, 2020. For perspective, in just one week, the DES processed nearly a quarter of the total number of claims it processed in the entirety of 2019.
Because of high call volumes, the DES encourages employees to file their claims online with UInteract at https://www.uinteract.labor.mo.gov as soon as they become unemployed. UInteract is mobile-friendly and available 24/7 to meet employee needs. Employees usually spend an average about of ten minutes to file a claim. For unemployment assistance or questions, employees can contact the DES at 1-800-320-2519 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive assistance in a timely manner, please advise your employees to include their name, phone number, and last four digits of their social security number. Employees can also watch video tutorials of the system and these are available at https://www.labor.mo.gov/coronavirus. The DES recently expanded UInteract to handled increased workload and will monitor the system 24/7 for potential issues too.
Finally, please remember that the DES also relaxed some requirements for filing for benefits such as eliminating the need to search for work for those who file COVID-19 related claims. The DES is currently working on temporarily waiving the waiting week requirement for COVID-19 related claims. Additionally, the DES has announced that it will temporarily waive charges for COVID-19 related claims to the respective employer’s experience rating accounts. The DES continues to review guidance received from the US Department of Labor for additional changes. It is also important to remember that employers pay into the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund from which benefits are provided to eligible workers. Employees do not pay anything into the unemployment insurance trust fund. It is wholly funded by employers.
For answers to more COVID-19 related unemployment questions, visit https://www.labor.mo.gov/coronavirus.
Thomas & Company Reminder
Our office will be monitoring COVID-19 updates closely and will be sending out additional announcements on our website as we become aware of new development: https://www.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/.
Please reach out to your representative with any questions.